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2004-04-01
Memphis, TN. Wal-Mart's Money Centers

A banking company named National Commerce is depositing its trust in Wal-Mart to help enhance its bottom line. Memphis, Tennessee-based National Commerce is the parent company of Central Carolina Bank. For the past seven months, National Commerce has been engaged in a "trial" program with Wal-Mart to "co-brand" its services with Wal-Mart. The banking firm has been inside Wal-Mart stores for at least six years, according to the Associated Press, but this past October, the bank branches of National Commerce were renamed "Wal-Mart Money Centers." Presumably these units can't be called "Wal-Mart Banks", because federal regulators want to keep a firewall between banks and retailers. But National Commerce's President made it clear that he's trying to make the public think these are Wal-Mart banks. "The Wal-Mart brand awareness brings more immediate trust," he said. "Now when people see the Wal-Mart name, they are more likely to come in and talk to us." National Commerce plans to open six more banks in the next few months, part of a corporate plan by the bank to make the company too ezpensive for a take-over by another bank. To the average consumer, the Wal-Mart Money Center is just a place you do your banking. National Commerce is hidden behind Mr. Smiley's face.

What you can do: Unfortunately, this is no April Fool's joke. It's only the public that will be fooled. More than 40 years ago, Sam Walton bought a bank in Bentonville, Arkansas, which is now a large banking conglomerate called Arvest, overseen by its President, Jim Walton, son of Sam. For more stories about Wal-Mart's efforts to be the Walbank of America, search the Newsflash page by "bank."










 
 
"Norman has become the guru of the anti-Wal-Mart movement" ~ 60 Minutes

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